Article

How do they do it?

Top Execs Share their Work/Life Strategies

By Heather Stewart

May 8, 2014

Launching a new business? Buckle up. Your life is about to get more exciting, fast paced and just plain busy. We talked to local entrepreneurs and top-level execs to figure out how they manage the chaos and create some work/life balance.

Take Personal Time

“If you don’t have to, don’t work on the weekends. Use weekends to wind down and refresh for the coming week. Make sure you’re taking time for yourself, whether it’s a pedicure or a date night. Spending time on yourself makes you feel good and handle stress better.” – Kim Jones, CEO, Vérité

Plan. Plan. Plan.

“I love spontaneity and adventure as much as the next person, but for my regular daily life I realize that planning out the little and big things can save me time, money and sanity. This includes packing my work bag and setting out my clothes the night before so I’m not scrambling each morning. Or setting aside time on my calendar for a date night with my husband or time with my girlfriends. Or scheduling my vacations well in advance to ensure it’s reserved on both my personal and work calendars.” – Heather Erickson, head of global communications, Ancestry.com

Don’t Get Sucked into Email

“I try to only look at email two times during the work day in one hour ‘sprints.’ I’ll set the alarm on my phone for one hour and get through as much of it as possible during that hour, but no matter what is left unread, I’ll close my inbox at the end of the sprint. It’s far too easy to get pulled into email and have it consume my entire day and change from a sprint into a marathon. I’ll go back to my email at the end of the day after things start to get quiet around the house for one more email sprint.” – Randall Hales, CEO, ZAGG Inc

Get Organized

“Find ways as a family to make keeping track of calendars, shopping lists and general activities between work and home super easy. Our family makes this happen with the use a lot of electronics. We use shared online calendars and even have an app that allows us to share our grocery list real-time on our phones so that if I remember we need milk in between meetings at the office, I can add it to the shared list and know that whoever’s at the store next will have the most up to date shopping list.” – Heather Erickson, head of global communications, Ancestry.com

Have Breakfast Together

“We realized early on that I’d have more late nights than not, so family dinner was not always an option. But we’re all always home for breakfast—so that’s our time. We all sit around the counter and I get to cook a meal, which is also a passion of mine, while spending some great, quality family time together.” – Jana Francis, founder and president, Steals.com

Carve out Productive Time

“My productive time is after most of our employees go home. I generally leave the office between 8 and 8:30 most nights. … When production and incoming calls and emails die down around 5:30, I heat up my dinner, clear my head for a few minutes and work through the tasks that need concentration. I used to try to do it from home, but I found I did better eating dinner and staying at the office. That way, my home time was more relaxing.” – Teresa Whitehead, CEO, Citywide Home Loans

Protect your Family Time

“If I’m in town, I get home by 6 so I can spend time with my family. I avoid scheduling events in the evenings and do all I can to stay off of my various technological devices until my children are in bed. This is doable. … I will often start meetings at 6 a.m. rather than working late and interfering with family time. I’ve also found there are many trips I can take a redeye flight to, sleep on the plane and head straight to the meeting once I land. This allows me one more day in the office and an evening with my family before flying out. This may not sound very fun to people, but it works well. It gives me about 15 more evenings at home and 15 more days in the office per year—that’s a lot of time.” – Chet Linton, CEO, School Improvement Network

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

“When you are scheduled for 14 hours of day in an eight-hour calendar and get home to an entire box of spilled Cheerios, you put it into perspective and take the family out for Thai food.” – Erica Brown, vice president of marketing, Thanksgiving Point 

 

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